In this spotlight, we interview Eric John who is the founder of ECJ Tax. Eric founded his company in 1990 and ever since then, he’s been helping individuals and businesses with accounting and tax preparation.
The company has grown to multiple offices spanning both New York and Georgia.
As a fellow Thrive Coworking member, Eric has some words of advice on how to stay productive, motivated and steadfast in growing your business.
When did you start ECJ Tax?
I became a CPA in Dec of 1990 and formed my firm shortly thereafter. We are currently in our 24th year of servicing our clients
What motivated you to start it?
When I was in high school one of my teachers Mr. Celio who was also the football coach inspired me to become an accountant. His drive, determination, purpose, and passion for what he was doing especially with his handicap really inspired me and gave me more of a reason to succeed and strive for excellence in all that I do.
What types of customers do you serve?
Our firm's client base includes both individuals and business' across the nation.
How many offices do you have?
Our firm services its various clients locally through 3 office locations - 1 in Georgia and 2 in New York run by our team members in those respective locations
Where do you see the company going within the next 5 years?
We anticipate the firm growing with the underlying purpose and goal of continuing to serve our clients as we strive to increase their overall net worth both from a financial and non-financial perspective
What advice can you give other business owners who are trying to grow their business?
Stay focus, driven, purpose minded and set up wins under your belt so that when the times get tough you can think back and focus on those wins which should fuel you to keep going. I like to think about it this way - remember the little choo choo train going up the hill - win small battles, 1st (aka small hill) so that your energy earned will then begin to fuel you to go higher and higher (aka larger hills).
How do you stay productive at work? Any tips?
The key for us is to not work harder but work more effective and efficient. We have found the best way to do that is to stay proactive in all aspects of the firm. One technique we use is to create daily lists and each day tackle the simpler ones first so that you conquer the small hills first which leaves you with a sense of accomplishment which will tend to drive you to do more.
Another tip I would suggest is to focus on your cash cows and let go the cash drainers - In our case, we have at times held onto a client just to have them but if they are a cash drainer then you and them are both not being serviced correctly. The hardest thing to do at first is to let go a cash drainer but when that time, effort, and resources are replaced with a cash cow well it speaks for itself. This goes to being proactive in how you foresee your client base, how confident you are in your business and practice and most importantly yourself!!
Do you do volunteer work? With what organization?
My best movie of all time is Frank Capra's It’s A Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. That movie has become a part of my daily routine as I and my firm strive to replicate what his persona was in that movie and how he chose to treat people in the movie. Another way we like to say it is using the acronym "CHIC" - which stands for Character, Honesty, Integrity and Customer Service or Courage.
With that said, I am a fool for volunteering. My goal is to strive to give back each day where I can. To me that means financially, time, energy and efforts.
A current organization that I volunteer with includes being a chapter coordinator for Flood Student Missions. Other organizations have been more project based (a day here or a day there).
Past organizations included Mission Atlanta with the YMCA, Mentor at PAL and others connected to church, school, etc. throughout the years.
Written By: Alma Abreu